Assa Abloy eyes more plant closures, cost cuts

Reuters

* Says to close about 30 plants and offices

* Restructuring costs seen at 1 bln SEK

* Q3 EBIT 2.09 bln SEK vs forecast 2.05 bln

* Chalks up organic growth in Europe

STOCKHOLM, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Assa Abloy, theworld's biggest lock maker, said on Monday it would launch a newefficiency scheme before year-end that would see it shutterabout 30 plants and offices over the coming three year.

The maker of Yale locks has grown through a steady stream ofacquisitions in a fragmented market for household and commercialproducts over the past decade that has seen it carry out nearconstant restructuring to leverage economies of scale.

Assa also said earnings before interest and tax rose to 2.09billion Swedish crowns ($330.2 million) from a year-earlier 1.93billion to come in just above a mean forecast of 2.05 billion ina Reuters poll of analysts.

The company said its new restructuring measures would belaunched in the fourth quarter and would result in one-off costsof about 1.00 billion crowns and the same level of savings overroughly three years. It did not specify how many jobs would becut under the plan.

The company, a rival to U.S. Ingersoll-Rand andStanley Black & Decker, said its sales rose 3 percent,excluding acquisitions and currency swings, in line withanalysts' expectations and the rate of the preceding quarter.

Assa Abloy, whose products range from ordinary householdlocks to advanced digital entrance systems, has seen sluggishgrowth in a European market where it generates roughly half itssales and where a weak economy has curbed construction activity.

Assa said like-for-like sales in the region grew 1 percent,on the back of strength in markets such as Germany, the Nordiccountries and eastern Europe in the third quarter, after beingflat in the second and contracting around the turn of the year.

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